A chemical peel is a popular cosmetic treatment designed to improve the appearance of the skin. But is it truly safe and beneficial even with its harsh chemicals? This post will explain how chemical peel works and determine whether it is safe and beneficial for the skin. We will discuss how a chemical peel works, its benefits, side effects, and more relevant details. Let’s begin!
How Does a Chemical Peel Work?
How a chemical peel works depend entirely on its ingredients. And because there are numerous possible ingredients and virtually countless combinations of ingredients, chemical peels can reasonably achieve anything for your skin. So to discuss a chemical peel’s capabilities, we have to list its potential ingredients and their respective capabilities.
Chemical Peel Ingredients
The most common chemical peel ingredients are:
- Glycolic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Lactic acid
- Retinoic acid
- Trichloroacetic acid
- Mandelic acid
Let’s break these individual ingredients and see what they do.
Glycolic acid is an exfoliator, but unlike other exfoliators, glycolic acid does not roughly sand the skin’s topmost layer away. Glycolic acid chemically severs the connections between keratinocytes, the primary skin cells. When keratinocytes lose their bonds with each other, a portion of the skin cells becomes loose and easily removed.
The body responds by expediting cell turnover and raising healthier and younger skin cells. In short, glycolic acid exfoliates the skin without the harsh and friction-driven sanding. Its exfoliating effects cause the skin to make itself newer and healthier.
Salicylic acid is keratolytic and belongs to the same class of drugs as aspirin: salicylates. The acid increases the amount of moisture found in the skin and dissolves the substance that binds skin cells together. It helps treat calluses, warts, acne, swelling, redness, and unclogging the pores.
Lactic acid has some similarities with salicylic and glycolic acid in that it also dissolves bonds between dull cells on the skin’s surface. So, in essence, lactic acid is also an exfoliator. But it is significantly more helpful in making the skin have a brighter complexion, smoother, and softer.
The most popular use of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is treating acne. The substance comes in many different strength levels to treat problems with varying severity. It is also an exfoliator that removes dead skin cells and encourages new cell growth. TCA chemically exfoliates and combats fine lines, wrinkles, melasma, acne breakouts, acne scars, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and improves skin texture in general.
Now we’re moving away from the exfoliation territory because retinoic acid stimulates collagen formation in the skin. Any individual who is even remotely interested in cosmetics will know one way or another the importance of collagen in maintaining an aesthetic look. Collagen is the primary protein the body uses to build healthy, firm, smooth, and undamaged skin.
Collagen fills up to 90% of the total protein in the skin. Its basket-weave pattern provides the smooth texture that we all desire. Increased collagen production is the key to treating many common skin problems like acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, skin laxity, uneven skin tone, and more.
Resorcinol is a popular treatment option for acne, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin conditions that are more severe than fine lines or wrinkles. Technically, resorcinol falls under the exfoliator umbrella because it sands away hard, scaly, and rough skin. But you can also think of it as a solid answer to intermediate skin problems.
Hydroquinone is a cosmetically popular chemical for skin whitening. But unlike other whitening chemicals, hydroquinone produces permanent results. It causes an irreversible loss of pigment. Hearing statements with the words “irreversible loss” can make people think that these treatments are unsafe. Let’s settle the question of safe once and for all.
Is Chemical Peel Safe?
Chemical peels are safe. The ingredients I discussed above are all approved by the FDA for cosmetic and sometimes medical use. However, the harsher chemicals are safer if handled by professionals such as physicians or dermatologists. The number one safety advice you should remember when going for chemical peels is to use only trained, certified, and experienced professionals.
Some of the ingredients of chemical peels can have highly damaging effects if not used properly. And even if used properly, they can cause harm if you don’t receive any numbing agent. A professional will know how to use these chemicals when necessary. A professional will also what strength level of a chemical peel to use for your unique needs. The three strength levels of a chemical peel are light or superficial peel, medium peel, and deep peel.
The deeper the peel goes, the more exfoliation action it does. If mishandled, a deep peel can cause irreparable damage to your skin and appearance. So again, a chemical peel is entirely safe as long as a professional handle it.
Side Effects of Chemical Peels
Even though chemical peels are utterly safe in the right hands, they still have side effects. These side effects vary depending on the ingredients of the peel. You should not worry because they are natural and should be expected.
Your professional provider should assess your suitability for various chemical peels to help you determine the safest options. The most common side effects are redness, dryness, sensitivity, or swelling. These side effects will subside within several days, but immediately let your provider know if they persist.
Benefits of Chemical Peels
We’ve lightly touched on the benefits of a chemical peel as we discussed the different ingredients. But just to be clear, here are the potential benefits you can reap depending on the type of peel you choose:
- Combats acne breakouts and scarring
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Improves skin laxity
- Better skin texture and tone
- Less hyperpigmentation
- Fights skin diseases
- Cleans the skin
Some chemical peel treatments use special ingredients to achieve unique effects. Using fruit extracts and specific vitamins is not unheard of in the cosmetic world.
Schedule Your Chemical Peel Appointment with Solana Aesthetics & Wellness
Solana Aesthetics & Wellness provides the highest quality chemical peel treatments in Illinois. Contact us through our Contact Us page, phone at +1 (630) 410 2348, email at [email protected], or visit our office at 334 River St. Lemont, IL 60439.